REVEALED: President Jimmy Carter found classified documents in his home after leaving office in 1981 and returned them – Trump, Biden and Pence now engulfed in record-handling scandal
- Carter reportedly found classified documents at home after leaving office
- He turned the records over to the National Archives, a source said
- It comes after Mike Pence was the latest to reveal finding such documents
- Biden has also handed over documents related to his time as vice president
- Issue came to the fore after Trump withheld classified documents last year
Former President Jimmy Carter once found classified documents in his home, according to a new report, illustrating the long-running nature of the records-control issues now plaguing President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
Carter found the classified materials at his home in Plains, Georgia, and returned them to the National Archives, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
The revelation comes as former Vice President Mike Pence also discovered classified records in his home, saying that like Biden he had turned them over willingly after a search he had requested.
Carter, a Democrat, left office in 1981, but it is unclear at what point the classified documents were discovered at his home and handed in.
President Jimmy Carter is seen on his final day in office, a hectic period marked by negotiations to resolve the Iran hostage crisis
Sometime after leaving office, Carter reportedly found the classified materials at his home in Plains, Georgia (above) and returned them to the National Archives
A spokesperson for the Carter Center did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com outside of business hours on Wednesday.
Carter himself signed the Presidential Records Act in 1978 — but it did not apply to records from his administration, only taking effect years later when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.
Before Reagan, presidential records were generally considered the private property of the president individually.
Nonetheless, Carter invited federal archivists to assist his White House in organizing his records in preparation for their eventual repository at his presidential library in Georgia.
The reported discovery of classified documents would have occurred at the Carter family home at 209 Woodland Drive — which was built by Carter and his wife Rosalynn in 1960, and is the only home the couple has ever owned.
January 19, 1981, was the final full day of Carter’s only White House term, and was marked by a frenzy of activity as his administration completed 11th-hour negotiations to resolve the Iran hostage crisis.
The fact that Carter, now aged 98, appears to have inadvertently taken classified documents home to Georgia decades ago only serves to illustrate the longstanding issues around control and handling of such records at the highest levels
The reported discovery of classified documents would have occurred at the Carter family home at 209 Woodland Drive, the only home Carter and his wife have ever owned
The 52 Americans were freed the following day, in the first hours of Reagan’s administration, but Carter stayed up through the night as reports of the final negotiations trickled in.
‘As Carter waited in the Oval Office all night Monday for news, servants in the White House family quarters packed the last of the Carter’s belongings,’ a Washington Post report from the time states.
‘In the parking lot outside, workmen were busy far into the night loading file cabinets on moving vans. Around the West Wing, staff assistants and secretaries were cleaning out their drawers (one found an “urgent” memo she had lost three years ago) and taking down pictures,’ it added.
The fact that Carter, now aged 98, appears to have inadvertently taken classified documents home to Georgia decades ago only serves to illustrate the longstanding issues around the control and handling of such records at the highest levels.
The question gained new significance in August, when an FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate recovered more than 100 classified documents that he had refused to return to the National Archives.
About a dozen classified documents were found in Mike Pence’s Indiana home
Joe Biden (left) and Donald Trump (right) are both being investigated by special counsels over their handling of classified material
Then, earlier this month, it emerged that Biden had discovered and handed over classified documents found at his University of Pennsylvania think-tank on November 2, prior to the midterm elections.
A handful of additional classified documents, likewise related to Biden’s term as vice president in the Obama administration, were found at Biden’s Delaware home in subsequent searches this month.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed special counsels to investigate both Trump and Biden regarding the handling of classified material.
Then on Tuesday, Pence’s attorney revealed that documents with classified markings were discovered in former his Indiana home last week.
George W. Bush’s office has said he turned over all classified documents upon leaving the White House, and Barack Obama’s spokesperson refused to comment on whether any searches for such material were underway.
Some legal experts have now concluded that Biden’s clumsy handling of the classified material could make prosecuting Trump harder – even though the cases appear to be very different.
Biden and his team alerted the Justice Department to the presence of the files and handed them over, while Trump spent months arguing about the circumstances of his own papers.
Pictured are some of the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago, following the August 8 raid
‘Politically it has effectively let former President Donald J. Trump off the hook for hoarding secret papers,’ wrote Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for the New York Times.
David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Obama, told Baker that although Trump’s actions and Biden’s were dramatically different, ‘in the court of public opinion’ they may be perceived as equal.
Trump is seizing the moment to downplay his own behavior and insist he is being treated unfairly, telling supporters at a rally on Tuesday that he was ‘being persecuted’ by a ‘Trump-deranged’ special prosecutor – while Biden ‘is being given white-glove treatment.’
The latest poll shows American voters believing both Biden and Trump are at fault – although most concede that Trump’s actions were more egregious.
Among those surveyed by ABC News and Ipsos, 77 percent said Trump acted inappropriately in handling classified documents, and 64 percent said Biden had.
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